Saturday, February 14, 2009

May I Please Have My Name Back, Now?

I think I was incredibly patient throughout this whole mess, but it’s really getting old. Nobody ever asked me for my permission to use MY NAME as a meaningless campaign slogan, but now that things are settling down and the inevitable disillusionment is growing, I want it back.

Here, I’ll even let you have another poster with my name on it, but this time it’ll actually make sense, because it will have my face on it:


I guarantee that the original photograph didn’t come from Reuters or AP; I just took it myself with my MacBook Pro’s built-in camera and Photo Booth (using the Comic Book filter). I then spent far too long trying to figure out the GIMP in order to put my name across the bottom ( 2.6.0 definitely deserves the “experimental” warning; it has the usability of something from Redmond).

Anyway, it’s bad enough that the Smithsonian won’t give me my rock. Is it really too much to ask that I get to keep my own name?

I’m not being too audacious, am I?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Prayer Is Essential

This past Saturday, my old friend Carl Philip “Phil” Carlson was on the radio. He is now a campus missionary in Texas, and he was on the air sharing his testimony and talking about the work he does at his alma mater.

I already knew some of his testimony, from reading things he’s written and from talking to him about it (and I’m in Phil’s Facebook Group), but this was a whole different experience. When we’ve conversed recently, it’s been phone conversations that last maybe ten minutes; this was almost a half hour of Phil pouring his heart out. It was heartbreaking and sad and beautiful and powerful and amazing and challenging.

It’s hard to believe that this is the same guy I used to talk Star Trek with in high school as we’d study the latest screencaps from Pedro’s Shiporama (which still exists, wow!). Back then, Carl Phil struck me as a little stiff when it came to matters religious, but I just chalked it up to him being a Methodist (and it was actually kind of a welcome change from the people at the Pentecostal churches I attended); I had no idea of the kind of pain he was hiding, or its magnitude. We mostly stuck to lighter fare in our conversations, like science fiction or complaining about the latest stupidity inflicted upon us by our English teachers (not you, Mr. Wolstenholme).

But now, he’s a warm, sincere, outspoken, eloquent, mature man of God (with a hint of a Texan accent). Look at how he expounds upon 1 John 4:10:
It’s “not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” In there we see that two-sided element: We’ve sinned. Sin is evil. It requires a price to be paid, it requires a just price. But at the same time, it’s love that he sent us a means of redemption. And that love is far greater than anything we can do on our own, it’s far greater than any human being can do, although the love of God can be poured through human beings… The key to life is the combination of the Law of God and the Good News of God. The Truth is so important that we need to show people, look, this is our situation, this is how we got here. And here’s how God is taking us out of it.

Or when he’s talking about forgiveness:
Forgiveness is a process: it has a starting point, but it doesn’t have an ending point while we’re alive. It really is something where we have that first moment, we say, look, I forgive you. But tomorrow those emotions are going to come back again, the memory’s going to come back, so we have to remember, okay, look, I am going to choose to forgive again today…

Wow. It’s not every day that I hear a testimony which actually impacts me; it’s usually just “I did bad things, blah blah blah, and then I found Jesus and now my life is different.” But this dude’s for real, you can hear it in the enthusiasm in his voice. God has touched his life, and he’s excited and wants to tell everybody about it.

It really gives me pause, because I realize that I don’t always share his enthusiasm. Am I complacent? I hope I’m not like the seed that fell among thorns. Sure, I try to live my life in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord (and routinely fail, of course), but I really don’t reflect on my salvation the way I should. I take it for granted, when I should be constantly thrilled and amazed and grateful and eager to tell others. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Are those just words to me, or do I comprehend them as a statement of fact and a demonstration of unconditional love? Forgive me, Jesus. And thank you.

I highly encourage anyone to listen to Phil’s message, I’ve listened to it like four times now.